Nikon -> Leica -> Nikon

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by snaggs, Jul 28, 2005.

  1. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    After a stint with Leica (I've handed it back), I realise that the grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. My pre-ashp summilux flared, and the meter on the M6 faulty. I thought about Canon, but still dont want one, and really, all I want is 10 megapixels sometime in the future, and to shoot more film now alongside my D70, I dont even want a 12 megapixel D2X.

    On the plus side, all those uber Nikkors which I thought were expensive now seem like bargains! I currently have a F65, D70, 50mm f/1.4, SB600, a fridge full of kodachrome and bulk rolls of HP5+ (yippee). F6 was tempting, but nah, too big.

    So my come back kit Im thinking of is.. please double check my thinking, dont want to make another mistake. Canon posters are encouraged to recommend a Canon alternative, I do after all only have a 50mm lens, and the D70 could just be converted to infared usage.

    FM3A w/E screen
    28mm f/1.4
    105mm f/2.0 DC (on clearance at dealer)
    SB27

    Given full frame film and 1.5 crop digital, I cant see much more that I'd need & Im hoping that the FM3A w/28mm f/1.4 can do everything a M6 & Summilux can do and will work with digital when something compact which performs is available.

    Any FM3A users here?

    Daniel.
     
  2. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well just to help get the ball rolling, if I had to do it all over again when buying a Nikon, (I don't shoot a FM3a sorry), I'd probably opt for an F3HP. I hear alot of nice things about the FM3a, but at some prices I've seen on F3's lately, it would be too hard to pass up.
     
  3. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you've got the FM3a, there's no point looking beyond ! It's a wonderful camera.

    The 28/1.4 and 105 DC are awesome beyond words. Shoot, print, have fun.

    You've got an 'ultimate kit.' Get it. Don't EVER get rid of it.
     
  4. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What do you mean about the D70 being for IR? I have heard many ardent digi users say they have an old film body strictly for IR. I am not trying to start an argument - its simply something that I have little knowledge of, and would love an explanation.
     
  5. michaellynn9

    michaellynn9 Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Co. Antrim N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Daniel, I have been using an FM3a for 2 years now, cannot think of anything bad to say about it. Aperture priority is very handy to have when you are shooting in a hurry, AP lock is very handy for those scenes with tricky lighting. I used to think that a spot meter in the camera would be useful, but when I look at the results I get with the centre weighted meter I realise that with a bit of experience results are great.

    With ttl flash and a PC socket it will take all the guess work out of flash photography, I use an SB22, and with an SB27 you will have a little more flash control than I have. The fill flash function on the camera is very good as well, if a little difficult to find in practice.

    I use a 105 f2.5 Ai, 50 f1.8Ais, 28 f 3.5 and 70 - 150 E series lense, and the results are excellent. Any duff shots are always my own fault.

    The outfit is small, compact and intuitave to use, there are no menus to scroll through to adjust settings etc, it is a tough little camera that performs well in all sorts of weather, I cannot praise it enough.

    Mick
     
  6. Gregg Brekke

    Gregg Brekke Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Location:
    Springboro,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Daniel,

    Love my FM3A - it goes everywhere with me. I think I shoot twice as much through it as my F100.

    I have added the E screen and the following AIS lenses: 35/2, 50/1.8, 105/2.5, 180/2.8 and 35-70/3.5. Great kit and combined it cost less than I sold my M6-TTL for. The 35/2 AIS is a phenomenal lens and stays attached to the body 95% of the time.

    Best of luck,
    Gregg
     
  7. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Prospect (Lo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've owned and used a Nikon F3HP for fifteen years. A terrific camera. After a recent stint using mostly MF gear, I picked it up again; forgot how compact and lightweight it is, especially compared to MF gear.
     
  8. Jan Cornelius

    Jan Cornelius Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Munich
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What to say, I have the FM3a (Black) 20/2,8 28/2,8 35/2,0 50/1,4 85/1,8 105/2,5 all Ais and all within the price I sold my M6 and 35 summilux for. Never a minute of regret.

    Bought an additional FM3a later (silver) for reasons of film diversity.
     
  9. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There is an irreversible mod you can do to the D70 which has been documented online, where you remove the IR filter on the sensor. It then becomes more sensitive to IR than film. Since this is an analog forum, I shoudlnt say any more.. you can post on FredMiranda if you want more info.

    Daniel.
     
  10. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well, its on order and I can't wait! Its great not having menus and instead having a camera which will do as its told. After reading the detailed expose on http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonfmseries/fm3a/htmls/index.htm, I realise what a technology tour de force it is compared to the M6 I was using.

    I found the 1/50 flash sync on the M6 very limiting, basically meant I couldnt use it with any long lenses at night, so the M6 was ok for street, but I kept on wanting to try certain techniques only to find out it couldnt do them.

    The 1/4000 mechanical shutter speed is incredible too, explains why Nikon was so successful in film. Any tips from the experienced? Anyone played with multiple exposures.. ?

    Now heres the question.. what FILM should I use to break my FM3A's cherry? (looks in fridge)

    1) Kodachrome 64 or 200
    2) Fuji Reala 100
    3) Fuji NPZ 800
    4) HP5+
    5) PANF 50

    Im thinking some Reala 100 during the day NPZ at night cause I can drop them down to the local minilab for quick printing and scanning.

    Daniel.

    PS. Ordered the 45mm f/2.8 pancake lens too.
     
  11. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Only thing is the F3 is dependent on battery, and if we want Nikon to keep making/supporting film cameras, we have to buy them. Compared to a Leica etc, the FM3A is really a bargain.

    Daniel.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Member

    Messages:
    88
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2003
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The FM3a (and FM2n which is what I have) also has a higher flash sync speed than the F3. I always thought I wanted a F3, but after doing the research I decided the FM2n would serve my purposes better. I still want a F3; it's a heck of a camera.
     
  13. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    downwind fro
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Nice plan, especially wonderful lenses choices as they are the best of what Nikon makes based on all the speculation and chatter I've heard. Of course finding a 28/1.4 is the hard thing; the 105/2 is a bargain.

    But I wouldn't be too quick to bash Leicas. I've tried several back and forth over the years, and the M6 and 35 Summilux ASPH I once owned was the gold standard. That lens (expensive as hell) is simply amazing. I have a beautiful 30x40 print from it, and it what I compare everything short of 4x5 to. It really is worth the money, all the Leica BS aside, you should try it.

    But by all means buy a new FM3 instead of a used F3. The F3 is great (get the eyelevel, not the HP, if you don't wear glasses - the eyelevel is actually easier to see) but we need to buy NEW cameras to keep the manufacturers making them.

    I am disappointed with most of the plastic AF Nikon and Canon lenses. Their best lenses were all made long ago, unless you like $1500 fat heavy zooms. It's digusting that they can't package a few fast simple prime lens designs in a professional AF mount.

    And finally, I just got the D2X, while thinking the D70 would serve as backup. No way. The D2X is so fricking nice that the D70 - which is a great camera on its own - looks like dogdoo in comparison. I had it listed within the hour.

    It's not the resolution (although I don't mind having more) but the overall responsiveness and crispness of the modern D2X. I think the F6 film body would be similar - the auto-focus is just so good and so fast that it makes everything else feel like crap. I used to hate AF - now I see that it helps me make shots I never could have gotten with manual or zone focusing a Leica.

    Bottomline - if you are going to use those wide aperture lenses like the 28/1.4 and 105/2 - do you really want to tie yourself to manual focus or zone focusing? Or the crippled, weak AF of a consumer body like a D70? Neither will get the job done right. You need a really good AF system to exploit the power of these lenses (shooting wide open, with perfect focus).

    If I jsut counterdicted myself three or four times above, please understand I am in gear-techno-nirvana and have had a few drinks to boot.
     
  14. Jan Cornelius

    Jan Cornelius Member

    Messages:
    48
    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Munich
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Great choice the FM3a and especially the 45mm pancake, the old tessar design will work wonders with Tri-x B&W filmbut Kodachrome 64 will come out beatifully as well....
     
  15. Juraj Kovacik

    Juraj Kovacik Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Bratislava,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I'm not sure at this point

    FM3a is a great camera, but I would not trade it for Leica. But my opinion only, of course. The points - Leica is quieter, with better optics and more stable without mirror moving. And the big view in rangefinder is another plus. Main disatvantage / harder to focus.
     
  16. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Far be it for me to knock Leica - I love them dearly and my desire to won one is probably unhealthy in its proportions...

    BUT:

    The F3's have very bright, 100% coverage viewfinders - one of their best features. Also, changeable screens to suit your focusing needs.

    And there are more than a few Nikkor lenses that I challange anyone to imperically prove inferior to their Leica equivalents, awesome as those are.

    Their film advance is like a swiss watch. They are an SLR. They have mirrors. They all do that, SLR's... with their silly mirrors and such... but at least you have MLU if it bothers you so much.

    There is no substitute for a rangefinder, and a Leica is pretty much the gold standard in that field. But there is also no substitute for a good SLR - and the F3 is one of the greats!

    Comparing a Leica RF to a Nikon SLR is a bit apple-orangy in nature. I doubt the Lieca SLR's have much of an edge on the Nikons when you look at it very objectively.

    And I am a Canon guy...

    PS What is easier (and quicker) to focus than a rangefinder??? Me confused now... me go sleep.
     
  17. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Im not knocking Leica, they are great. BUT, my particular one wasnt.. and the 35mm f/1.4 ASPH costs a bomb and the pre-asph I had didnt perform.

    Then there is the fact that Leica is bankrupt, their rescue plan has been stalled due to legal action from shareholders, and even if they get passed this, the lens to film plane distance is so short that even a 1.5 crop sensor has vignetting and colour shift issues (i.e. RD1). So if and when I want/need to change to digital, the expensive 35mm lux asph becomes a >50mm lens compromised by a less than optimal digital solutiogn.

    Given the above, I didn't feel investing in a new MP and 35mm f/1.4 was a wise long term investment, and in my situation, I cant afford to throw that much money to the wind. This, might be different for others.

    I wish and hope Leica will suceed.

    Dainel.
     
  18. Juraj Kovacik

    Juraj Kovacik Member

    Messages:
    475
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2004
    Location:
    Bratislava,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    only a note - coverage of FM3a viewfinder is less then 100%
     
  19. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    Oshawa, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was under the impression that we were talking about the F3 in this thread - sorry if I misunderstood.